Thursday, February 25, 2010

Stuff I Wrote: Mary McLeod Bethune & Eleanor Roosevelt Brought to Life at National Portrait Gallery Performance

While at the performance, I saw Johnnetta B. Cole, the first "Sista Prez" of my alma mater, Spelman College,sitting in the first row. Before Cole got the job, Spelman, an HBCU for black women had never had a black woman as president. We exchanged cards. How cool is that?

Mary McLeod Bethune and Eleanor Roosevelt Brought to Life at National Portrait Gallery Performance

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Pillows

A long while back, I bought two cloth placemats that I never used as such for some reason. Less than a long while back, I bought a pillow from IKEA, that I did use as such...until it got all weird and lumpy and the insides separated into individual tufts of cottage cheese. And then a while back I got the idea that I could combine these two purchases into a pillow. But of course, I proceeded to just let these items sit in unused.

Until one day when I was especially mopey and decided I needed some creative project to give me some instant gratification. I finally made the pillow I'd thought about, sewing it by hand. Being all proud of my handiwork, I informed my mother, who really was not all that impressed.

Later I learned that she was less than thrilled because unbeknownst to me, she'd also been thinking that I should make a pillow and give an item a new life. Somehow she managed to keep this to herself while I talked about the pillow I'd made since her pillow-making materials were in a box that hadn't arrived at my house yet.

She had saved a rice sack, even though she didn't know what to do with it. Then she came across an article about how vintage grain sacks were very chic at the moment. And it hit her-she'd send me her rice sack and some pillow stuffing. But then she couldn't find any pillow stuffing materials. So after she hunted some down, she gets a phone call from me where I tell her that I just made a pillow from an old one that I had laying around and that I had another old pillow that could be used to make even more pillows.

Great minds think alike and although my mother was kind of dismayed, I told her at least she did not sell her hair to buy me a chain for my watch (If you don't get that because haven't read The Gift of the Magi, you need to read it. It is one of the greatest short stories of all time.)

All's well that ends well, I say. Now I have two pillows.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Stuff I Wrote: Judges take a leading role in a play about Thurgood Marshall

When I spoke to Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for the article below, I can't remember how it came up but he joked about going to same law school as Barack Obama, saying that he had to use whatever claim to fame he had. He was cool and didn't take himself too seriously and that is something I can't say about some other politicians I've interviewed.

Judges take a leading role in play about Thurgood Marshall

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
This past weekend I went to a party and happened to step into the kitchen just as the hostess was involved in some complex dishwasher-loading calculations.

She asked me many questions that I had no idea how to answer. Should these things go this or that way? Was placing thing X in Y manner an inefficient use of space? I'm afraid I wasn't much help. I've gotten much better at using my own dishwasher--a far cry from the days when I used to marvel at how my mother could always rearrange things to find the space needed for that one extra thing. Actually, I'm now quite proud of myself; my dishwasher arranging skills are evidence that I've grown into my spatial intelligence. But her queries were too technical for me.

"Asians don't use dishwashers!" she shrieked. Apparently, she only had the dishwasher installed or repaired (I forget which) because she rented out her place over the summer and thought that an American renter would want such a convenience.

I was at a loss as how to really be of use, but tried to make encouraging comments. Although I confessed to growing up with a dishwasher, I didn't have the heart to tell her that while many middle-class Americans use dishwashers, we don't actually think about them.